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Statement of Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Neal Blewett, to Australians in the Gulf



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STATEMENT OF ACTING MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, NEAL BLEWETT. TO AUSTRALIANS IN THE GULF. BROADCAST ON RADIO AUSTRALIA

17 JANUARY 1991

IT IS WITH GREAT REGRET THAT I SPEAK TO YOU TODAY IN CIRCUMSTANCES THAT AUSTRALIA AND THE BROAD INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAVE WORKED VERY HARD TO AVOID - BUT I REMIND YOU AS WE REMIND OURSELVES THAT THESE EVENTS ARE THE INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN'S

BRUTAL INVASION OF KUWAIT ON AUGUST 2.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN IRAQ TODAY IS NOT THE START OF A WAR BUT THE END OF A WAR. THE WAR BEGAN ON AUGUST 2. THE MULTINATIONAL MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ TODAY IS REINFORCING THE MESSAGE THE WHOLE WORLD HAS BEEN TRYING TO SEND SADDAM HUSSEIN FOR FIVE MONTHS, THAT IT WILL NOT STAND BY AND TURN A BLIND EYE WHILE HE

INVADES, RAPES AND PILLAGES A NEIGHBOURING COUNTRY, AND THAT HE MUST COMPLY WITH MANDATORY UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS.

IT IS A MESSAGE THE AMERICAN, AUSTRALIAN AND MANY OTHER GOVERNMENTS HAVE COLLECTIVELY TRIED TO GET ACROSS TO SADDAM HUSSEIN WITHOUT THE USE OF FORCE. WITH THE ELAPSE OF THE DEADLINE SET BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL, THE USE OF FORCE, AS AUTHORISED BY THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL, BECAME, FINALLY, NECESSARY, TODAY.

BUT IT IS AS WELL TO REMEMBER THAT TODAY'S MILITARY ACTION IS NOT ABOUT INVADING OR DESTROYING IRAQ, IT IS ABOUT LIBERATING KUWAIT.

LET ME QUOTE THE PRIME MINISTER'S REMARKS EARLIER TODAY: "FIRST, THERE IS THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE, WITHOUT WHICH THERE CAN BE NEITHER PEACE NOR FREEDOM - THE RIGHT OF EVERY INDEPENDENT NATION NOT TO BE INVADED, NOT TO BE THE VICTIM OF AGGRESSION, NOT TO BE

DESTROYED."

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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THE PRIME MINISTER ALSO SAID THAT THERE IS A WIDER PURPOSE TO THIS DECISION - THAT IS, TO FURTHER THE GREAT QUEST FOR A NEW WORLD ORDER OF PEACE, SECURITY AND FREEDOM, AND THAT AT THE BAR OF HISTORY THERE WILL BE NO GREATER CONDEMNATION OF SADDAM HUSSEIN THAN THAT HIS AGGRESSION HAS PLUNGED THE WORLD INTO A TERRIBLE AND NEEDLESS CRISIS WHICH THREATENS WORLD STABILITY.

BUT WHILE IN AUSTRALIA WE CONTEMPLE THESE TRAGIC DEVELOPMENTS, WE ARE ALL TOO AWARE THAT SOME OF YOU ARE THERE IN THE THICK OF IT, AND THAT OTHERS ARE IN AREAS OF HIGH TENSION AND ANXIETY. YOU ARE IN OUR THOUGHTS.

PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE ARE ACUTELY AWARE OF YOUR SITUATION. WE HOPE THAT NONE OF YOU IS IN ANY IMMEDIATE DANGER. SHOULD THE SITUATION DETERIORATE, WE WILL SEEK, BOTH WITH OUR OWN RESOURCES AND OUR ALLIES, TO MOVE YOU OUT.

WE ARE AT THIS MOMENT RE-POSITIONING THREE AIRCRAFT TO SAFE PLACES NEAR THE REGION, AND WE HAVE EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLANS READY TO ACTIVATE IMMEDIATELY SHOULD THE NEED ARISE. HOPEFULLY THIS WILL NOT BE NECESSARY, SO I URGE YOU TO CONTINUE LISTENING TO RADIO AUSTRALIA, AND TO KEEP IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH YOUR NEAREST

AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY.

THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE IN CANBERRA HAS OPENED

A CRISIS LINE TELEPHONE SERVICE TO ANSWER INQURIES FROM RELATIVES AND FRIENDS AT HOME NATURALLY ANXIOUS FOR YOUR SAFETY. WE ARE RECEIVING MANY CALLS, AND WE ARE KEEPING EVERYONE INFORMED OF DEVELOPMENTS. I DO URGE YOU THOUGH TO REGISTER WITH OUR EMBASSIES

IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO. IF YOU HAVE NOT REGISTERED, WE HAVE NO RECORD OF YOU AND CAN NOT KEEP YOUR FAMILIES INFORMED.

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OUR THOUGHTS ARE ALSO WITH OUR AUSTRALIAN SAILORS IN THE THREE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY SHIPS IN THE GULF - THE HMAS SYDNEY, THE BRISBANE AND THE SUCCESS, THE MEDICAL TEAMS SERVING ON THE HOSPITAL SHIPS, AND ALL OTHER AUSTRALIANS SERVING WITH ALLIED FORCES IN THE GULF.

WE ARE CONFIDENT OF THEIR SKILLS AND KNOW THEY WILL SERVE BRAVELY

AND WELL. AUSTRALIANS ARE WAITING, HOPING AND PRAYING FOR THEIR SAFE RETURN HOME.